At the close of each Chancellor’s Day conference, we spend a few moments with our facilitators and event staff, reflecting on the day. Energy-wise, we’re typically bouncing between being inspired (how can we not be, having worked with such incredible teachers?) and exhausted, so we use a simple protocol to focus our minds on a few comments to share. We call it Hots & (k)Nots. We each share one highlight (hot) and one “I wish this could have been different” moment (not) also known as “I’d like to change this for next time” (untie this “knot”).
Following Inspire, Caroline Cooper, facilitator of the Critical Reflection through Poetry & Prose session, shared how inspired she was by the participants in her workshop. She said, “Teaching is an art, and they’re all artists.”
TEACHERS AS ARTISTS
Teachers from New York City and beyond started their Election Day with CPET Director Dr. Roberta Lenger Kang, who challenged them to consider life from the perspective of the Aspen tree, an organism connected to its community through a shared root system, growing on a strong foundation, seeking nourishment from the environment to stand tall season after season. Teachers moved into critical reflections sessions and then on to workshop sessions that most interested them – that spoke to their way of teaching or looked promising in inspiring the art they were creating, from lesson plans to analyzing student work to discovering ways to support themselves and others experiencing trauma.
We saw teachers create mobiles, balancing objects that represented elements of their heavy loads. Teachers collected student engagement techniques through a fast-paced bingo game designed to connect teachers as they worked. Facilitators provided resources for teachers to explore creative, collaborative, critical, and global mindsets, followed by space in which they dug a little deeper and found ways to integrate their learning in the classroom.
BEYOND PLANNED OUTCOMES
Throughout Inspire, educators participated in content discussion groups, engaged in critical reflection, collaborated with colleagues, interrogated relevant research, and previewed innovative workshops. They arrived willing to take chances, and with a commitment to enhancing their practice for themselves & their students.
As they reflected at the end of the day, teachers shared these ideas:
Self-care is important for both teachers and students.
Take care of yourself.
Students experience trauma – that affects their behavior. Students are NOT their behavior.
Behavior is communication.
Education changes, and so must we.
Try new stuff in the classroom!
Perhaps their words respond to a quote attributed to Pablo Picasso, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Teachers are finding ways to remain artists, and that is inspiring.
We're looking forward to our next Chancellor's Day event, which will focus on the power of project-based learning. The Big Learning Challenge will allow educators to design 21st century projects around a common theme, that they can then take back to their classrooms.
Can't make it for Chancellor's Day? Check out all our upcoming PD sessions to see which is right for you.
Dr. Roberta Lenger Kang, CPET's Initiative Director, urged participants at Thursday's In Practice conference to be atypical teachers - willing to shift their mindsets and flip the script that they set for themselves and their students. Over the course of the day, this year's cohort of educators moved through four sets of workshops, focused on critical reflection, project-based learning, the Danielson framework, and strategic thinking. In the afternoon, they found support in sessions like Overcoming Overwhelm, examined student engagement with our Literacy Unbound team, and explored the idea of publication as project with our Student Press Initiative experts. Each of the 25 unique sessions provided time and space for participants to reflect, collaborate, and bridge theory and practice.
Thank you to all the educators from across New York City who came to In Practice willing to be open, reflective, and collaborative. We look forward to working with you again at your schools or at a future event!